Sex & Gender

Sex & Gender

Identifying Positive Employers

Internships & Work Experience

» Women's Engineering Society
A charity and a professional network of women engineers, scientists and technologists offering inspiration, support and professional development. Working in partnershiptosupport and inspire women to achieve as engineers, scientists and as leaders.

» Winning Women
An introductory program for undergraduate women, the Winning Women program provides an entry into financial services and a meaningful overview of the many opportunities for female leadership at the firm.

» FreshLook
FreshLook is an investment banking insight event for female undergraduates of all degree disciplines.

Online Resources

The following websites have information and advice on a variety of topics:

» Business in the Community
» Fawcett Society
» PwC Women in Work Index
» GOV.UK pay gap data

Gender and positive action recruitment initiatives

Many employers take part in positive action recruitment initiatives in order to address gender-related underrepresentation in their industries (see below for more on positive action). TARGETjobs runs a number of these events on behalf of employers, including:

See also:

Your Rights

The Equality Act 2010 makes unlawful any direct or indirect discrimination, harassment or victimisation on the grounds of a person’s sex: male or female.

Sex discrimination against men is just as unlawful as sex discrimination against women. It is also unlawful for a woman to discriminate against another woman because of her sex, and for a man to discriminate against another man because of his sex.

The act allows for certain cases where sex is an occupational requirement and can be stipulated in a job specification. Note that within the act, sex does not refer to issues of gender reassignment or sexual orientation, which are dealt with separately - click here to read acas guidance about gender reassignment.

It is illegal for employers to pay men and women differently for work that is the same or broadly similar, work valued as equivalent by the employer’s job evaluation or work found to be of equal value with regards to effort, skill or decision making.

The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 require public, private and charity/voluntary organisations with 250 or more employees to publish their gender pay gaps:


  • Direct discrimination

    Is when someone is treated differently and not as well as other people because of their sex or gender. For example, advertising a job and stating it is better suited to female applicants.

    It breaks down into three different sorts of treating someone 'less favourably' because of:

    • their own sex/gender (ordinary direct discrimination)
    • their perceived sex/gender (direct discrimination by perception)
    • their association with someone of a particular sex/gender (direct discrimination by association).
  • Indirect discrimination

    Can occur where a workplace rule, practice or procedure is applied to all employees, but disadvantages those of a particular sex or gender. For example, a requirement that job applicants must be six feet tall could be met by significantly fewer women than men.

    An employee or job applicant claiming indirect discrimination must show how they have been personally disadvantaged, as well as how the discrimination has or would disadvantage other employees of the same sex/gender.

    In some limited circumstances, indirect discrimination may be justified in law if it is necessary for the business to work; this is known as an 'occupational requirement'. One example is where the job holder is likely to work in circumstances where members of one sex/gender are in a state of undress and might reasonably object to the presence of a member of the opposite sex/gender, such as in a bra-fitting service.

  • Harassment

    This breaks down into three different types:

    • 'unwanted conduct' related to a person's sex/gender causing a distressing, humiliating or offensive environment for them. 
    • 'unwanted conduct' of a sexual nature - this is sexual harassment. 
    • less favourable treatment of an employee because they have rejected sexual harassment or been the victim of it.
  • Victimisation

    Treating an employee unfairly who has made or supported a complaint about discrimination.

  • Other considerations

    Employers should ensure they have policies in place to prevent discrimination in:

    • recruitment and selection
    • determining pay, terms and conditions
    • training and development
    • selection for promotion
    • dismissal
    • selection for redundancy.